Making the headlines - 2001-03-20

By Erica Southey - Ron Dennis accuses Ross Brawn of unsafe tyre choice Dennis pointed an accusing finger at Brawn, following Sunday's Malaysian GP. Dennis said that Brawn compromised the safety of his drivers by putting their...

By Erica Southey -

Ron Dennis accuses Ross Brawn of unsafe tyre choice
Dennis pointed an accusing finger at Brawn, following Sunday's Malaysian GP. Dennis said that Brawn compromised the safety of his drivers by putting their cars on intermediates.

Ross Brawn defended his actions
"We tried these tyres at Fiorano last week, we knew that the intermediate was a very, very good tyre. Ron made a comment about Ferrari being irresponsible fitting those tyres. We had the information that they were very good tyres even in fairly deep water. So I think that's a bit of an unfortunate comment for him to make without the facts or information that was needed. We knew there were dry parts of the track and we knew there were wet parts of the track and we knew the tyres were very good in the morning as well. That was what we ran this morning. We knew it was very good and we knew it would go into the dry".

Unnamed drivers to conduct testing for Prost Acer
Two unnamed drivers will conduct testing sessions in preparation for the Brazilian GP for Prost Acer Jean Alesi and Gaston Mazzacane will not have to do double duty. Prost is yet to appoint an official test driver for the French team.

Toyota to unveil their 2002 contender
Toyota will unveil their 2002 contender on Friday, 23 March 2001, at the Paul Richard circuit in France. After the unveiling ceremony, Mika Salo and Alan McNish will take the cars around the track as prelude for their testing season.

Scotsman, McNish has confidence in Toyota and told British Press: "I can't wait to get behind the wheel," he said. "Toyota have the desire and the capability to succeed in Formula One. I wouldn't be involved unless I was convinced they had the long-term prospects. Toyota aren't arrogant enough to say they're going to win their first race. Even though they've been successful in other forms of racing and rallying, you just have to look at the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams to appreciate this is a massive challenge."

McLaren and Ferrari: Exchange programmes
Competition between Ferrari and McLaren is not restricted to the track only. It appears that where there is even the slightest chance of competition, the two teams will partake. Over the years, we've seen drivers and technical personnel swapping over from one of team to the other. The latest is South African born Electronics Engineer, Anton Stipinovich who exchanged his McLaren outfit for that of Ferrari.

Stipinovich was quick to point out that it was all done in good spirit: "I live in Modena, but I can't really claim to know the area, because I have been on the move ever since joining Ferrari, either testing or at the races," says Anton. "I only go home, by that I mean my country of birth, once every two years to go and see my family. It is a great opportunity to experience working for two exceptional teams like Ferrari and McLaren. I would say the atmosphere is a bit nicer at Ferrari, but I would not want to say it was bad at McLaren. I left because I wanted a change but we parted on correct and amicable terms."

Rubens on Ralf: "Leave some room"- Brazilian, Rubens Barrichello spoke out on his skirmish with Ralf Schumacher in Sunday's Malaysian GP which saw the German going into a spin, losing valuable places. Since then the gloves came off. Yesterday, Schumacher issued a warning to Barrichello; that what goes around comes around.

Barrichello's response: "Well, I made a good start, to be honest with you, I lost probably half a car to Michael, maybe one car to Michael, but I had no vision on my left side that Ralf was there, and I kept on looking to see if somebody was there. When he came out of the outside, he was quite brave to brake so late, but then he just tried to be brave and turn in," Barrichello explained. "When you're there, you know that the track is difficult to overtake, you know what the situation is going to be, you have to fight for your own position. I thought you can fight for the position, you can brake very late, but you leave the other room. It's the same case as happened with Frentzen back in Melbourne. With Coulthard it always happens, if he comes on the outside or the inside, he leaves some room for you to actually have a line or something. I had no room, I had to brake late as well when I saw him coming down the outside, I had to just let the car roll and then I had the line, he was in front, I have to admit that he was in front, but then all of a sudden he just shut the door and I was there. So if you want to fight for the position that's cool, but just leave some room. We touched, not to the point where, for example in Melbourne, my car was hurt. This time my car was fine with that little incident, where we touched slowly. Because he came in at such a momentum that's why he touched me and he just kept on spinning, you could see the engine just rising, and then he spun"

What do you do ............... - when your Editor is breathing down your neck for a story and you don't have one? That's right, you fabricate one. This is exactly what a Brazilian journalist did. Michael Schumacher's overly, favourable comments on Sauber, led the journalist to spread news among Italian reporters in the paddock, that the triple World Champion was in the process of buying the Sauber team. Supporting the journalist's 'story' were quotes from Schumacher and his manager Willi Weber, which had one respectable Italian newspaper fall for the ploy; hook, line and sinker. A bit of Brazilian 'revenge' for Rubens Barrichello, being branded the number 1b driver at Ferrari? There is, of course, no truth to the story.

Sibling rivalry continued
Ralf Schumacher is planning to put an end to his brother's winning streak. After the Malaysian GP, Ralf had this to say: "It has been a good weekend" "We seemed to improve, we seemed to get closer and I hope we can go further and be a bit bigger pain for Ferrari. I hope Michael is not going to win nine because I want to win one of the next races if I can. We are closing the gap now and I am hoping to take the opportunity and win. Ferrari are looking very strong but no one is unbeatable, so we will do our best and see what happens."

The Schumacher brothers have been at loggerheads before, following the blatant move of Michael blocking Ralf to let Rubens through at the Spanish Grand Prix last year in May when Schumacher senior suffered from a deflating tyre and lost over two seconds a lap to the top runners.

Ralf was livid and their dad Mr Rolf Schumacher, had to keep the peace before a helicopter trip to the airport. I'm sure that their father will have acquired the skills of a Middle East peace negotiator by now, which will be needed for when Ralf puts his words into action as the two brothers go head to head on track.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Gaston Mazzacane , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , Mika Salo , Ross Brawn
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams